Health:

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Betty White Lifeline Program Nursing Shortage Marrow Donation
Cord Blood Banking Healthy Eating Type 2 Diabetes
New Website
Cerebral Palsy

Signs That Care Is Needed

Retirement In Need Of Reinvention

pic(NAPSI)—Retirement is a concept that’s constantly being reinvented. A comfortable retirement wasn’t even a widespread economic goal until after World War II—and it’s changing again, as the economy is making that goal more difficult to reach. Fortunately, seniors do have options.

According to executives at The Lifeline Program, seniors must now look well beyond traditional tools if they want some sort of retirement.

For most seniors, the notion of ending their work life at age 65 with a golf course membership and a gold watch is no longer the norm. Recent studies show that most seniors are working longer with little hope of an idyllic retirement.

Traditional sources of retirement income can no longer be relied on. Pensions have become rare and many seniors have not saved enough. The recession and housing crash have hurt retirement accounts and housing values.

Financial-planning experts suggest saving more, but that’s not always possible. Other options do exist, though, and it’s important to do your research. For example, performing a reverse mortgage on a home, selling a life insurance policy through a life settlement and exploring alternative investments are all tactics that can add financial security and help seniors realize some of their dreams for retirement.

For Joan Clary (age 70), a substitute schoolteacher from Oakhurst, Calif., the dream was to meet actress Betty White. Fortunately, Clary won the recent Lifeline “Meet Betty White” Facebook contest and was flown to Los Angeles to meet the actress. Clary was thrilled to win. “As I turn 70, I realize Betty is one of my last role models. It’s a joy to meet her after admiring her for so many years,” said Clary.

Founded in 1989, The Lifeline Program offers life settlements as a new financial planning option to baby boomers and retirees. The company partners with insurance agents, broker dealers and financial planners to establish life settlement business lines. For more information, visit www.thelifeline.com, follow the company on Facebook at Facebook.com/LifelineProgram, on Twitter at twitter.com/LifelineProgram or on YouTube at youtube.com/user/TheLifelineProgram. You can also call 855-GO-BETTY (855-462-3889).

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To Solve The Nursing Shortage, Employers And Educators Must Partner

pic(NAPSI)—By 2020, an estimated 1 million registered nurse jobs in the U.S. health care system will go unfilled—but that doesn’t have to happen. To care for a growing population of older, sicker patients, nursing schools, health care employers and technology innovators must work together to close this gap.

Apollo Research Institute convened a panel of nursing educators, health care executives and other nursing thought leaders to propose solutions to the shortage and other industry challenges. Key findings are published in the Apollo Research Institute report “Critical Conditions: Preparing the 21st-Century Nursing Workforce.” The report addresses ways to improve nurse recruitment, education and career advancement to anticipate tomorrow’s health care needs.

Panelists identified the lack of nursing faculty as a major factor in the shortage. Prospective students are being wait listed at nursing schools and existing nurses are unable to continue their education. Health care organizations have assisted by providing practicing nurses as part-time faculty or mentors.

The panel also discussed an Institute of Medicine report that recommended higher levels of education for registered nurses. For nurses to achieve the recommended academic credentials, employers and higher education providers must collaborate to improve program access. The nursing experts suggested flexible scheduling for students who work or are raising a family, professional development tracks for working nurses, and community college partnerships for associate’s-to-bachelor’s program transitions.

Technology will continue to drive innovations in nursing practice and education, panelists noted, citing electronic health records and simulation technology. But they also agreed that nursing technology should never replace the personal touch and that it must be deployed more efficiently. Panelists also predicted greater reliance on outpatient services and rising numbers of geriatric cancer patients as the U.S. population ages.

These and other shifts will require nurses to get involved in creating solutions. “As the front line of patient care, nurses need to share their insights with policymakers, educators and employers so that the industry can benefit from their clinical expertise and understanding of patients’ social and emotional needs,” says Dr. Tracey Wilen-Daugenti, vice president and managing director of Apollo Research Institute and the panel’s moderator.

To learn more, visit www.apolloresearchinstitute.org.

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Volunteer Marrow Donation Best for Patients and Donors
by Dr. Jeffrey Chell, CEO,
National Marrow Donor Program

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(NAPSI)—More than 10 million people stand ready to donate their marrow to someone—anyone—searching for a cure for blood cancer and other devastating illnesses. Newly proposed changes in legislation could make such donations more difficult.

These generous donors are members of the Be The Match Registry, the world’s largest listing of potential marrow donors and donated umbilical cord blood units. Marrow and cord blood contain stem cells that can restore a patient’s immune system and help combat disease.

For 25 years, the National Marrow Donor Program (NMDP)-which operates the Be The Match Registry-has connected altruistic donors with patients in need. So far, we have made more than 50,000 marrow and cord blood transplants possible. Every transplant has come from a donor who expected nothing in return except the honor of saving another person’s life.

This lifesaving work is at risk. There is currently a challenge to a well-established federal law that bans people from accepting compensation for donating body parts for transplantation, including solid organs and bone marrow.

Those in favor of compensating marrow donors argue that it will encourage more people to donate, thus increasing access to this life-saving treatment. But paying donors is not the answer to helping more patients. There is no shortage of volunteers willing to step forward as nearly 20 million people are listed on registries worldwide and hundreds of thousands of potential donors join the registry each year.

The only limit to adding more people to the registry is funding. It costs $100 to cover the necessary genetic testing required to add each new person. Money paid to an individual donor would be much better spent if it were used to increase the total number of people in the registry, which would in turn help multiple patients in need. More funding would also help more patients—especially the uninsured—afford the transplants they so desperately need.

Paying donors doesn’t address the real barriers that prevent patients from receiving transplants and, in fact, could have disastrous consequences. The current law—the National Organ Transplant Act—protects the safety of both patients and donors. Compensation puts patients and donors at undue risk, and will limit treatment options for patients and decrease the quality of donations.

Decades of experience and research show that a volunteer donor system saves more lives than a system in which donors are motivated by money. Paying donors goes against the best interests of the patients and donors we serve. For these and other reasons, the NMDP opposes paying donors and does not intend to change its policies on compensation.

 

 

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Cord Blood Banking: A Lifesaving Decision
by Rallie McAllister, M.D.

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(NAPSI)—Expecting couples face dozens of important decisions-one of the most critical is whether to save their baby’s umbilical cord blood. They’ll only have one opportunity to do it: in the moments following their baby’s birth.

Umbilical cord blood is a rich source of stem cells, which are considered to be the master cells of the body. For more than two decades, cord blood stem cells have been used in transplant medicine to treat a wide variety of serious diseases, including leukemia and other cancers and blood, immune and metabolic disorders.

One of the most promising areas of stem cell research is regenerative medicine, in which an individual’s own stem cells are used to repair damaged or diseased tissues and organs.

Clinical trials are now under way to evaluate the benefits of using a child’s cord blood stem cells in the treatment of type 1 diabetes, hearing loss, cerebral palsy and other brain injuries.

“When cord blood cells are used to treat an illness, they’re simply administered to the individual intravenously, like a blood transfusion,” said obstetrician-gynecologist Marra Francis, M.D. Once in the body, stem cells can trigger natural repair processes by reducing inflammation and increasing blood flow to injured or diseased areas.

Parents may choose to donate their baby’s cord blood to a public bank or store it in a private banking facility, but most times, it’s discarded as medical waste.

Donation to public banks is free but the cord blood is not reserved for the family’s exclusive use. Parents who want to ensure that their baby’s cord blood will be available for their family’s future use can choose to store it with a private cord-blood bank.

In many cases, interest-free payment plans and gift registries are available at private cord-blood banks.

For more information, visit www.cordblood.com.

• Dr. McAllister is the co-founder of MommyMDGuides.com and the co-author of “The Mommy MD Guide to Pregnancy and Birth” and “The Mommy MD Guide to Your Baby’s First Year,” which all feature tips that doctors who are also mothers use for their own families.

 


 

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On The Road To Better Health


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(NAPSI)—The warmer months are a great time to pick up new healthy habits. With longer days and a rainbow of fruits and vegetables in season, it’s easier to fit in physical activity and savor colorful, healthy meals with family and friends.

To help make these habits last a lifetime, the Weight-control Information Network (WIN), a national information service of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, part of the National Institutes of Health, offers these ideas:

Healthy Eating

• Boost the flavor and nutrition of your meals with dry herbs.

• Shop for food with your family. Get their help with fixing a meal. Remind them that it is important for everyone to eat healthy foods.

• Start a small garden in your yard or in a community garden.

Physical Activity

• Choose water workouts and make a splash as you get fit and strong.

• Plan a weekend hike through a park, a family softball game, or an evening walk around the neighborhood.

These tips and more are in the flyers “Being Healthy Is a Big Deal” and “Don’t Take a Vacation From Your Healthy Habits This Summer.” Contact WIN for your copy to put on your refrigerator or in a helpful place as a reminder, or in a community center where you work or volunteer.

For more information, call WIN at 1-877-946-4627 or visit www.win.niddk.nih.gov. Read WIN’s free publications “Being Healthy Is a Big Deal” at www.win.niddk.nih.gov/publications/PDFs/Big_Deal_flyer_508.pdf and “Don’t Take a Vacation From Your Healthy Habits This Summer” at www.win.niddk.nih.gov/publications/PDFs/Vacation_flyer_ 508.pdf. Like WIN on Facebook at www.facebook.com/win.niddk.nih.gov.

 

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Mirror Mirror, Is It True? Yes, It’s Still You With Type 2
Food, Fitness Tips In New Website For Adults With Type 2 Diabetes

pic(NAPSI)—Still You With Type 2 (www.stillyouwithtype2.com), a new website created by Bristol-Myers Squibb and AstraZeneca, provides information, downloadable recipes, a video series featuring professional chefs, and tips and tools for lifestyle changes that may have an impact on everyday management of type 2 diabetes. The site helps adults with type 2 diabetes stay true to their tastebuds and favorite family recipes through simple substitutions, and provides ideas for staying active. Still You With Type 2 also provides tips for patients to have more productive discussions with their doctors.

“Our research found that some patients with type 2 diabetes are looking for ways to help face the challenges of dealing with this complex condition and be themselves. With that in mind, Still You With Type 2 offers recipes, tips and tools such as a doctor discussion guide to help make healthy everyday lifestyle choices,” according to the companies.

Diabetes affects more than 25 million people in the U.S. or 11.3 percent of the U.S. adult population aged 20 or over. Type 2 diabetes accounts for approximately 90 to 95 percent of all cases of diagnosed diabetes in adults, and many more are unaware they are at high risk. Some groups have a higher risk for developing type 2 diabetes than others. Type 2 diabetes is more common in African Americans, Latinos, Native Americans and Asian Americans, as well as the older population.

Among the features on the new site is “The Dish on Type 2,” a video series featuring three professional chefs. They teach about food choices, portion control, as well as menu ideas and recipe makeovers. Visitors will find some healthy twists on favorite recipes such as low-carb macaroni and cheese, low-carb chili, guacamole, and even double chocolate brownies.

Information about community events, family and caregiver support, two treatment options for adults with type 2 diabetes and tips for talking to doctors or healthcare providers are also available.

If you have type 2 diabetes, you can sign up for a regular Still You With Type 2 newsletter which will help you put your knowledge to work. Register at www.stillyouwithtype2.com.

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Cord Blood And Cerebral Palsy

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(NAPSI)—Researchers may soon have good news for many of the estimated 2 million Americans who have cerebral palsy, a condition that is caused by a brain injury before birth or during the first few years of life. The condition can impair movement, hearing, vision and cognitive skills. There’s currently no cure—and no standard therapy that works for all patients.

New, cutting-edge research is exploring the potential of stem cell−based therapies to treat these kinds of neurological impairments. Pediatric neurologist James Carroll is the lead investigator of a new clinical trial at the Georgia Health Sciences University to determine whether an infusion of stem cells from a child’s own umbilical cord blood can improve quality of life in children with cerebral palsy. The study will include 40 children, ages 2 through 12 years, whose parents have stored their children’s cord blood with Cord Blood Registry. “The hope for stem cells, really from the beginning, is that they might serve as some type of replacement for cells in the nervous system that have been destroyed or never developed properly,” said Dr. James Carroll.

Dr. Carroll states that the outcomes of both preclinical research and anecdotal evidence in patients have made umbilical cord blood an intriguing source of stem cells for researchers to pursue—as has the safety profile of using a child’s own cord blood. He adds, “We’ve found in our animal experiments that adult stem cells can greatly assist in recovery from brain injury, so we wanted to try to apply this in children and cord blood; that is, the cord blood of the child being treated provides a safe place and a safe way to do that.”

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Potential Signs That Care Is Needed

pic(NAPSI)—Identifying the changes in physical and mental abilities that often occur with age is crucial to providing the best support possible for an aging loved one.

Any of the following behaviors may indicate the need to take action—starting with notifying the older adult’s physician:

• Changed eating habits, loss of appetite

• Neglected personal hygiene; dirty clothes, nails, hair or body

• Inappropriate behaviors, such as being unusually loud, quiet, paranoid or agitated

• Decreased or stopped participation in activities that were once important

• Forgetfulness

• Mishandled finances or unusual purchases.

The Eldercare Locator is a free national service that connects older adults and their caregivers with local aging resources like transportation, meal programs, in-home support services and more.

To get connected, contact the Eldercare Locator at 800-677-1116 or visit www.eldercare.gov.

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